Are you great at spotting everyone’s needs, but lousy at spotting your own?
Wellbeing means balancing care of others with care of self
Many women are good at looking after others, but not so good at looking after themselves. Often, it takes an illness for them to be told to learn to ‘self care’. We are not born as ‘carers’ its a behaviour we adopt at a young age to be loved, to be seen in the family and to get recognition.
Our deepest need was to be loved for ourselves(unconditional love) and not for our ‘caring’ but in the absence of that we develop substitute behaviours that gain us visibility with family and we carry them to the present day. As a child, it may not have been safe to say ‘please love me for myself!’ but as adults it is our responsibility to learn to love ourselves through taking care of self.
Well being is about balance
A carer is someone who cares for everyone and never asks for support. You probably have got a lot of recognition for being a carer, and this results in you perhaps feeling you can never ask for help. The challenge for a carer is to have a boundary around themselves (I use the image of a hula hoop to help clients understand boundaries). Standing in the hoop, I begin to take charge over what comes into the boundary I have set for myself.
Examples of some boundaries are:
- Learning to say No nicely
- Meeting your own needs ‘I need to rest & I would like not to be disturbed’
- Tell others how you feel ‘I feel overwhelmed & I need some help’
- Affirm to self ‘I need to do a lot more for myself’
- At work advise ‘I take lunch 1-130′
- ‘Due to annual leave, I will not be accessing my e mails’
- Put yourself on your To Do List!
- ‘I am only responsible for myself’
- ‘Meeting my needs are my responsibility’
- Having boundaries around my time ‘I had to go ahead without you’
- ‘I am taking some time for myself’
- ‘This is what I need to do for myself & I’d value your support’
How good are you at taking care of yourself?
Every time you hold a new boundary (above example) you will feel empowered, as no one disrespects you, unless you allow them to. Identify what you need and find a way to meet it. When you see someone who is good at looking after themselves, if it brings up something in you, is it that they are doing something you need to do more of! Take back your projection ‘they are selfish’ and see what it is saying about you ‘maybe I need to do more of that!’